Cypriot diplomats face off in a presidential election cliffhanger

Cyprus holds a intently fought presidential election on Sunday between two diplomats, every searching for to persuade undecided voters that he’s the most suitable choice to rule the EU member.

Andreas Theofanos of the Cyprus Heart for European and Worldwide Affairs mentioned: “Some folks go to the polls to vote for somebody who’s the least unhealthy candidate, which is a characteristic in most elections however extra so on this one.”

Former overseas minister Nikos Christodoulides, 49, faces off towards 66-year-old profession diplomat Andreas Mavroiannis after the primary spherical final weekend.

Each are attempting to show their credentials to rule independently of the events that help them.

The winner wants 50 p.c plus one vote to succeed Nicos Anastasiades, who served two phrases because the eighth president of the Mediterranean island republic.

With Desi disqualified from the presidential race for the primary time in its historical past, the Conservative Social gathering’s choice to help both candidate opened the runoff broad open.

Pre-poll favourite Christodoulides emerged final Sunday with 32.04 p.c of the vote, adopted by Mavroyannis with 29.59 p.c.

He unexpectedly put strain on 61-year-old DISY chief Averof Neofytou, who got here in third with 26.11 p.c – regardless of the endorsement of the incumbent.

Mavroyannis, backed by the Communist Social gathering AKEL, shocked observers by defeating Neophyto and shutting the hole with the centrist-backed Christodoulides.

Theophanous believed that Christolidis had a slight benefit as he would obtain the majority of the disaffected DISY’s votes.

“With the cut up in DISY and the neighborhood on the whole, it nonetheless leads, however it is going to be nearer than initially anticipated,” he mentioned.

“Some (from DISY) will vote for Mavroyannis, however not sufficient to win.”

DISY doesn’t endorse any of the candidates and has declared itself an opposition occasion.

Neofytou felt betrayed by Christodoulides, a distinguished DISY member who broke ranks to announce his candidacy fairly than toe the occasion line.

Analyst Fiona Mullin of Sapienta Economics, a consultancy in Nicosia, thinks the race might be “very shut”.

The DISY management doesn’t help anybody formally however informally helps Mavroyannis.

“So it should boil right down to how a lot they will change the bottom of the occasion whose instincts shall be extra Christodoulides than Mavroyannis.”

The ailing feeling inside Dessie in direction of him is seen as the best menace to Christodoulides’ victory.

Mullin argues that Mavroyannis should persuade voters that his supporter AKEL is not going to drive financial coverage if he wins.

The Communists had been extensively criticized for his or her dealing with of the 2012-2013 monetary disaster, which practically bankrupted the eurozone nation earlier than a bailout from worldwide lenders.

Value hikes Mavroyannis has already taken the weird step of appointing his future finance minister, the revered lawyer Charalambos Prontzos, an knowledgeable in company and power legislation, if he’s elected.

“That explains his selection of secretary of the treasury,” Mullen mentioned.

“As a member of an audit agency, Massive 4 and a lawyer, the Prountzos are nearer to the profile of DISY than to the profile of AKEL.”

Theofanos mentioned that the voters will nonetheless determine how convincing Mavroyannis is with the economic system, “regardless of the Minister of Finance”.

Rooting out corruption and bettering the economic system – fairly than dividing the island – are key points for voters.

The brand new authorities shall be underneath strain to deal with rising power payments, labor disputes and a faltering economic system.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish forces occupied its northern third in response to a Greek-sponsored coup.

UN-backed peace talks with the Turkish Cypriot neighborhood, frozen for practically six years, may also be on the agenda for the brand new Greek Cypriot chief.

If elected, Mavroyannis has promised to reopen negotiations from day one. Christodoulides demanded modifications be made earlier than talks might be revived.

Of the 561,273 folks eligible to vote, 730 are registered Turkish Cypriots within the government-controlled south.

Polling stations open at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) with an hour break at midday. Voting ends at 6:00 pm.


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